Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project seeking Bht300bn extra

Construction News Laos
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, sixth from left, grabs a shovel and joins in a ceremony to officially begin construction of the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway at Mor Lak Hin in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima in December 2017. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project seeking Bht300bn extra

New budget needs Thai cabinet approval

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) plans to invest another 300 billion baht for the second phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project.

An SRT source said the blueprint of the 356-kilometre section of the second phase of the project, stretching from Nakhon Ratchasima to the border province of Nong Khai, has already been finished.

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) will be submitted soon to the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP).

The proposal for the 300-billion-baht budget is expected to be submitted to the SRT board for consideration during January-February next year before it is handed to the cabinet for approval later, said the source.

The source added the auction to find a bidding winner will be made by the end of next year if the proposal is approved by the cabinet within May.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024, with a total of 13 contracts to be awarded — 12 related to construction and one pertaining to the railroad signalling system. The project should be completed in four years.

The second phase of the project will be built in several northeastern provinces, including Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai.

The 356km railway will feature a 185km ground track and a 171km elevated track. The route will have five railway stations — Bua Yai, Ban Phai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai stations.

The source said the high-speed train could reach speeds of up to 250km per hour. The travel time from Bangkok to Nong Khai — which normally takes about 11 hours by train or up to 10 hours by car — will be shortened to three hours and 15 minutes.

The source said the SRT is confident the second-phase project will not be delayed like the first phase (Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima), which was held back due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and the relocation of public utility lines around the construction sites.

The high-speed railway project is divided into three phases, with the last section linking Nong Khai to Vientiane in Laos and then on to Kunming in China’s southern Yunnan province.